If you have an old grouse on your hands, or have dug one out of the freezer, the only way to cook it is to pot roast it. Philippa Davis pot roasts grouse with the brandy, tarragon and cream. Ambrosial.

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Pot roast grouse is the only way to deal with a late season bird. Any older grouse or bird that you have dug out of the freezer should be cooked long and slowly. Do not attempt to serve it like a traditional roast grouse. It will be tough. But by long cooking and combining it with some serious good flavour combinations you will wonder why you ever hankered after a young season bird.

If you still want to attempt to roast it, Mike Robinson has an excellent cheat for reviving a dry old bird.

POT ROAST GROUSE WITH BRANDY, TARRAGON, WILD MUSHROOMS AND CREAM

Serves 2
■ 2 whole grouse
■ Salt and pepper
■ 2 dsp olive oil
■ 6 shallots, peeled
■ 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm (4⁄5in) wedges
■ 6 chestnut mushrooms
■ 6 garlic cloves, peeled
■ 2 tsp dried tarragon or 3 tsp chopped fresh
■ 40ml (11⁄2fl oz) brandy
■ 600ml (1 pint) water
■ 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
■ 2 tsp wholegrain mustard

This works well with end-of-season grouse or birds that have been frozen and defrosted. Not one to eat on your best linen as it’s easy to get carried away with the creamy, boozy, meaty sauce.
Pat dry the grouse and season with salt and pepper then sear on all sides in a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the shallots, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, tarragon, half the brandy and all the water (it should almost cover the birds). Bring to a simmer and cook half-covered with a lid for an hour or till the grouse is tender (test the inside thigh).
Remove the grouse. If there seems to be a lot of liquid, reduce for a few minutes then add the cream and mustard and check the seasoning. At the last moment, add the rest of the brandy. Serve with buttery mashed potato or French fries and a decent bottle of red.